Rosetta stone by Eisabeth.Skene [cropped]
Rosetta stone by Eisabeth.Skene [cropped]

A perfectly cromulent source of new words

In a discussion that followed beer and sloe gin, the question arose as to whether cromulent is a perfectly cromulent word (Lisa the Iconoclast; series 7 of The Simpsons) or is made-up nonsense. The following video gives the context:

Uploaded to YouTube by Alex Rickens

Party A disputed its cromulence because it was coined by a TV programme: The Simpsons.

Party B argued that The Simpsons is a perfectly cromulent source of new words, just as Shakespeare was in his day.

The putting of The Simpsons and Shakespeare on an equal footing was strongly refuted by party A: one produced great plays and poems; the other is merely an animated TV series. However, Shakespeare was put forward by party B as the author of popular entertainment in his day, just as the writers of the Simpsons are now:

The Simpsons… is a satirical depiction of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by the Simpson family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield and parodies American culture, society, television, and many aspects of the human condition.

Both Shakespeare and the writers of The Simpsons are intelligent, cultured, witty and imaginative in their writing.

The word cromulent may not appear in the OED, but it does appear in Dictionary.com’s 21st Century Lexicon:

cromulent adj.
fine, acceptable

Usage Note
slang

It is given as a slang word, so it’s not exactly what you might a call a serious word, but it is nevertheless listed in a dictionary of 21st century English.

What do you think?

I ask of you two questions:

  1. Is cromulent a perfectly cromulent word?
  2. Is modern TV programming like The Simpsons a perfectly cromulent source of new words?

Answer in the comments!

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